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Center for Independent Living hosts fundraiser

JOLIET – Fans of “The Wizard of Oz” should fit right in this Saturday when the Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living holds its “Yellow Brick Road to Independence” fundraising event at Harrah's Casino.

Pam Heavens, executive director for the WGCIL, said she's “very excited” about the upcoming event, which is centered around the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland.

For a $50 ticket, guests can enjoy dinner, dancing, a photo booth, raffle drawings and a live auction. Members of the center's fundraising committee will be dressed in Wizard of Oz-themed costumes, Heavens said.

The name of the event – “Yellow Brick Road to Independence” – encompasses the center's mission, Heavens said.

“That's really what it's all about – independence," she said. "It's about giving people with disabilities the skills they need in order to be independent and live their own lives."

The center has a fundraising goal of $35,000 this year, she said.

The event will run from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Harrah's Casino. Tickets can be purchased at the door, but Heavens encouraged people to buy in advance so enough food can be provided.

Auction and raffle winnings include four tickets to Disney World, a ride in a race car at the Autobahn Country Club, Rialto Theatre tickets, and an American Girl's gift basket, among others.

Some of the event's more recent sponsorships including Bill Jacobs Auto Group, First Midwest Bank, Spesia and Ayers Attorneys at Law, and Aetna Better Health, Heavens said.

Information about sponsorships, which range from $250 to $5,000, can be found at the center's Sponsorship Opportunities page.

“Spot the Bricks” campaign

Ahead of the event, the center is pushing a social media campaign – called “Spot the Bricks” – to increase exposure for the event and its several sponsors, Heavens said.

For the campaign, businesses throughout the area have placed bricks at participating locations. Snapping a photo of the bricks and posting to the center's Facebook pages, calling in by phone or notifying the center via email, people can enter into a drawing for a year's supply of yogurt from The Country's Best Yogurt, also known as TCBY, in Shorewood.

Liking the center's Facebook page will also enter you into the drawing, Heavens said.

Daily clues are posted on the center's social media pages, but there's no need to wait for those to come out each day. A list of the sponsors is available on the center's website.

For information on the event event or to purchase tickets, visit the center's website at

What: Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living's "Yellow Brick Road to Independence" fundraising event
When: 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Harrah's Casino
Additional info: $50 ticket includes dinner, dancing, raffle drawings, live auction, photo booth

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